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Fantastic speech by one of our Fellows – Elaine Luff

16th December 2014

A fantastic speech that one of our Fellows, Elaine Luff, made on 28 November 2014 clearly demonstrating the potential power of the new Fellows of the iHV to drive change and health improvement.

Elaine Luff FiHV

Elaine Luff FiHV

The 90-100 strong audience on the day comprised HVs, CNNs, NHS managers (community), LA councillors, commissioners , Sure Start workers and their managers, university lecturers, family support workers and Family Nurse Partnership Breastfeeding leads – all mainly from Northumberland, North Tyneside and Northumbria University.

The script of Elaine’s presentation is below:

I became a health visitor because I wanted to make a difference to children and families’ lives.

I wanted ALL children to have the best start in life.   I knew (and there is a significant weight of evidence to back me up on this) that what happens to a child in utero and in its early years has a massive impact on its health and wellbeing for the rest of its life.

And 27yrs down the line my desire and values haven’t changed.

I am passionate about Health Visiting and its potential to positively impact on our nation’s health.

The four foundational principles of health visiting are

  • To search for heath needs
  • To stimulate awareness of health needs
  • To influence policies affecting health
  • To facilitate health-enhancing activities

They are as relevant now as when I initially started my training in Manchester.

Health visiting principles are the foundations for building a health society.

Health Visitors are in a unique position to lead on the Healthy Child Program, which through its universal service can access, assess and identify individuals’, families’, and a community’s health needs

Through the HCP we can deliver a non-stigmatising service universally accepted and valued.

Through early identification of a family’s needs and the delivery of timely interventions through supportive enabling relationships, many children’s lives can be transformed.

The Institute of Health Visiting was set up to develop the health visiting workforce of the future through:

  •  Delivering high quality and consistent support to health visitors to improve the health outcomes of children and their families
  •  To help recruit and retain the best health visiting workforce possible
  •  To share best practice
  •  To build confidence in the future of our profession
  •  To inspire others in the value of excellence in practice

To become a Fellow of the Institute of Health Visiting you have to undertake a rigorous selection process and attend a four day transformational leadership training program. The standard for personal development, coaching and mentoring are set high as the quality of our practice is paramount.

The award is not only to recognise my professional achievements but also to identify and deliver a countrywide network of expert confident health visitor leads that can work with the Institute and their employers to help strengthen local professional capacity.

As health visitors working in practice alongside our partners, we have an opportunity to shape policy, embed health-enhancing evidence-based practice and rebuild the systems and structures which have prevented and constrained us from truly making a difference.

I am looking forward to developing the Fellow’s role as an ambassador for the Health Visiting service and being part of a network of expert confident practitioners who can learn together through communities of practice, being well placed to support the integration process.

We have to acknowledge that there are huge challenges ahead, and in those challenges are big opportunities to improve public health outcomes which are at the heart of health visiting.

As a workforce, Health Visitors are skilled, ready, able, qualified and regulated to take on the challenge.

Without doubt the landscape of service delivery is changing rapidly and if you stand still you will lose ground and your footing.

In our organisations, the frenetic change in policy and practice can be exhausting. A window opens and, following the money, we jump through it only to find when we look back the window has closed and we have lost our way.

With the changes in commissioning we now have an opportunity to map out our own terrain to enable a strengths-based approach to work in trusting partnership with each other and our communities.

Together we can make a significant difference in improving the health and wellbeing of our children, their families and the communities we serve.


Thank you


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